Eagles haven't set QB playing time for third preseason game

"I don't think I could play any better," Michael Vick saidof his performance in the preseason.
"I don't think I could play any better," Michael Vick saidof his performance in the preseason. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff)
Posted: August 19, 2013

The wait continues for the Eagles to name their first-string quarterback - and not just for the season opener on Sept. 9, but also the third preseason game next Saturday.

Coach Chip Kelly said after Saturday's practice that his staff will meet Monday to determine how to distribute playing time against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The third preseason game is traditionally the one in which starters play the longest. Michael Vick and Nick Foles split starts and playing time in the first two games, so the third game could provide a clue to Kelly's thinking.

"They need to continue to play at a high level, and I think when you continue to put them in different situations, that gets a chance to express itself," Kelly said.

Saturday's practice was reserved for situational work. Sunday's practice will be similar. But Vick took the majority of the first-team snaps on Saturday, and Foles did not line up with the starters until later in practice. This was a departure from most practices, when it had been a nearly equal split.

"I didn't even notice," Vick said. "I'm so used to going back and forth, being ones and twos."

When asked if there is more clarity with the quarterbacks, Kelly said he does not think that way. There is still time for more information, and he mentioned different variables that must be considered: leadership, play selection, the ability to face adversity and bounce back, the ability to face a pass rush, the ability to move the team no matter who is on the field.

"There's so many different factors that go into it, I don't think there's a one-sentence answer," Kelly said.

The popular opinion is that Vick outshined Foles in the first two games. Vick is a combined 13 of 15 for 199 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Foles is 11 of 14 for 96 yards, with one rushing touchdown and an interception. Foles also has lost a fumble.

"I don't think I could play any better than what I played," Vick said. "I'm trying to think about all the things I did and keep that going."

Vick seems to be at his best when there is something to prove, much like in 2010. He insists it's a mentality he'll keep, regardless of the outcome, which will be important. Hubris can be dangerous for any player, and Kelly said Vick's mind-set in this competition is beneficial.

"Once you think you've arrived in this game, you're going to get passed on by," Kelly said. "No matter what the situation. . . . You become a starter, that doesn't mean you kick your feet up and say, 'I'm all set, this is a good deal.' "

That is why it's advantageous for Kelly to extend the quarterback competition. The performance of both players is evidence that the competition is enhancing their play, although there's also a reasonable argument that the starter will benefit from more first-team snaps.

When he had unsettled quarterback situations at Oregon, Kelly waited until the week of the opening game to name a starter. He said Saturday that he named the starter once the game plan needed to be installed for the opener, and he wanted to gather as much information as possible before that point.

That lends credence to the idea of Kelly's waiting until the week of the season opener against the Redskins to name his starter. However, the Eagles, unlike college teams, play preseason games. Perhaps the fourth exhibition contest will force Kelly to show his hand, because he'll need to decide how long to play his starters.

But the coach has been consistent since early in the summer that with time on his side, he'll use it. And when the game-planning starts for the Redskins, he'll have a starter determined.

"That's one thing I've learned from this: You don't want to rush anything," Kelly said. "You want to take what you have available to you and see how it plays itself out."

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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